How To Watch The Mars InSight Landing, Because It's Going To Be Pretty Darn Cool
On Monday, scientists will attempt to land a space probe on a planet that has proven notoriously tricky to visit. If you want to catch the historic exhibition, you'll need to know how to watch the Mars InSight landing. Thankfully, there are a few readily available options.
As of Sunday evening, the InSight landing is on deck to take place around 3 p.m. EST on Monday, according to MLive.com. One surefire way to catch the rover's descent will be by tuning into the official NASA TV livestream. This is located on the group's YouTube page.
The last time that NASA landed anything on Mars was in 2012. That machine — a rover — was called the Curiosity. The Curiosity is still on Mars, and NASA posts regular updates about the rover on its website.
After the Curiosity landing, the only time anyone else attempted to land anything on Mars was in 2016. However, that rover — the European Schiaparelli lander— crashed and burned, according to ABC. That's because landing on Mars is no simple task.
"When it works, it looks smooth and easy — like a piece of cake — but in fact at least a third of missions that have been sent to Mars have failed," Sue Smrekar, the mission's deputy lead, told ABC.
All reports indicate that NASA is pretty excited about Monday's landing. The Rover has its own Twitter account, and the NASA website is even promoting landing watch parties, which are taking place all around the country.
Aside from the NASA YouTube page, the landing will also stream across the NASA social media channels. This includes the NASA Facebook, NASA Periscope, and NASA Twitch, according to the group's website. There are a number of live-viewing events, including one that is scheduled to take place on the NASDAQ jumbotron located in Times Square.
The InSight's actual landing will be particularly nerve wracking for scientists, according to a number of reports. This is because, according to Live Science, there is a six-minute delay between what happens "on the ground" and when the InSight's data reaches NASA engineers. For six minutes, in other words, NASA won't know whether or not the rover landed safely on the Red Planet. Scientists refer to this lapse as the "seven minutes of terror," according to The Washington Post.
The InSight trip is particularly interesting because the rover aims to collect information about what lies beneath the planet's surface. It's possible, the Post reports, that this could provide insight into the Earth's own interior, as well as its history.
“Mars gives us an opportunity to see the materials, the structure, the chemical reactions that are close to what we see in the interior of Earth, but it’s preserved,” Smrekar told the Post. “It gives us a chance to go back in time.”
No matter how the landing goes, it's going to be a monumental day for NASA engineers. If you're able, tuning into a livestream could be an opportunity to catch a significant moment in scientific history.